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Swiatek beats Sakkari to become Indian Wells champion and new world No 2

The Pole picked up a title and a new career-high ranking as she lifted the BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells

Iga Swiatek Iga Swiatek, of Poland, smiles as she holds her trophy after defeating Maria Sakkari, of Greece, in the women’s singles finals at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Indian Wells, Calif. Swiatek won 6-4, 6-1. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Indian Wells WTA 1000 | Results 

Iga Swiatek showed once again why she has garnered a huge reputation for leading from the front, beating Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-1 in a winner-takes-all final at Indian Wells – securing not only the title but a new career-high ranking of world No 2.

Had Sakkari won the title, she would have taken the second spot in the rankings – but Swiatek has now won 15 of the 16 matches this year in which she has taken the first set.

Tough conditions, including a strong breeze, contributed to repeated breaks of serve in the first set, which lasted 44 minutes. Neither had impressive serving stats, with Swiatek on 65 per cent on first serve, and Sakkari on 56 per cent.

Swiatek: ‘Every match against Maria is a great battle’

Really it was the increased number of errors committed by Sakkari that made the difference – 12 unforced errors compared to her opponent’s seven, although both had five double-faults. The sixth seed’s double-faults, though, came at the worst time; she saved two set points before serving a double-fault to gift her opponent a third – which the Pole took.

Swiatek got the first break of the second set to take a 3-1 lead and powered home for her second straight WTA 1000 title following her win in Doha.

Sakkari still holds the edge in the head-to-head, 3-2, and Swiatek acknowledged their burgeoning rivalry in her post-match speech, saying: “”I want to congratulate Maria – every match against you is a great battle and I know that we already started a pretty cool rivalry and I think it’s going to last for ten more years. It’s going to be exciting!”

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